Sivad’s House of Soul

Sivad's House of Soul

Sivad’s House of Soul

Location: SW 4th and Ankeny
Hours: Daily, lunchtime; late night on weekends

The Story: Soul food warms your heart. That is the take from Sivad’s House of Soul, a new truck located on SW 4th and Ankeny.

Pronounced ‘So-vads’, the Portland theme wrapped truck opened earlier this year with the goal of offering down home cooking with roots in the rural south. Owners Tundra and Davis hail from the midwest, yet their parents are from the south, so they both grew up surrounded by the smells, flavors and traditions of the region. The truck sports images of Portland’s skyline along with a story about the origins of soul food. You’ll definitely recognize this truck when it drives past.

Sivad’s menu is extensive with items covering every meal of the day. As they find their niche in the Portland street food scene, they are choosing to offer different items each day like smoked BBQ ribs, chicken and waffles, fried chicken, and a favorite of mine, catfish. The pan fried catfish is served alone or in a sandwich with soul slaw and fries. The seasoning on the catfish brought back memories of Louisiana and time spent there. Slathering the fish with the slaw in the sandwich not only created a delightful mess, it brought all the diverse flavors together in every bite. Next time, ribs.

Catfish sandwich from Sivad's House of Soul

Catfish sandwich from Sivad’s House of Soul

Sivad’s House of Soul is a great addition to the downtown food scene and Tundra and Davis are a couple of great people. If you’re looking for a hearty meal, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Smoke BBQ Ribs  with fries and soul slaw – $14
  • Catfish dinner – $9
  • Chicken and Waffle – $9
  • Fried Chicken – $5-6.50
  • Chili Dog and Fries – $8

Phone: 503 569 5507

Left Coast

Left Coast

Left Coast

Location: SW 5th and Stark
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10:30am-4pm; Sat, 11am-3pm

The Story: Craving a handmade sausage burger or maybe a fried chicken sandwich? Fries? Left Coast is an all-American diner in a food cart.

Left Coast took over the recognizable cart that once housed The Swamp Shack down off SW 5th ave. With its signature steal panelling and recycled worn wood siding, new owner John Sturm left the cart pretty much the way it was. Why mess with a good thing? Left coast has burgers on the menu, yet on close inspection, they are handmade sausage patties with pork, chorizo or andouille. Other menu items include fish sandwiches and the shrimp poboy I enjoyed.

Shrimp PoBoy from Left Coast

Shrimp PoBoy from Left Coast

The shrimp poboy is one of those sandwiches you either do right or you don’t do it at all. There are so many purists out there you want to ensure you’re not messing with a family tradition. John’s sandwich is served open-face in order to present all the tasty goodness. An amazing amount of lightly battered and fried popcorn shrimp sit atop a toasted roll and then covered with lettuce, chopped tomato and spicy Sriracha mayo. I grabbed a couple of shrimp and tossed them in my mouth. So good. Crispy and sweet. Dip in the sauce and I’m sold. I ate more than a few that way until I was able to pick up the sandwich and enjoy it the way one does – holding it in two hands and taking a bite. John nailed it.

Left Coast opened early this year and seems to have already gathered a loyal following. I’m always happy to see a famous cart host a new vendor and succeed. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Fried Chicken Sandwich – breaded chicken breast on toasted bun with Sriracha mayo and spicy pepper slaw – $7
  • Hawaiian Pork Burger – handmade sausage patty grilled and served on toasted bun with lettuce, grilled pineapple, grilled onions and cheddar – $6
  • Chorizo Burger – handmade chorizo and pork sausage patty grilled and served on toasted bun with lettuce, avocado, fried anaheim pepper and pepperjack – $6
  • Shrimp PoBoy – fried popcorn shrimp on toasted french roll – $8

Facebook: Left Coast
Phone: 513 520 3206

The Hope Kitchen

Lizzy Caston

Location: N Killingsworth and Maryland, Killingswoth Station Food Carts
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-3pm

The Story: A little bit of Soul Food and a whole lotta love. People start food carts for different reasons: economics, creativity, and the  need to feed and nourish the world are just a few. The Hope Kitchen is all that and more. Started in response to the loss of a family member to colorectal cancer, The Hope Kitchen has a mission for the greater good:

The goal of The Hope Kitchen is to encourage a reduction in red meat consumption for a healthier heart & healthier colon.

The Hope Kitchen does not claim to be a health food or vegetarian food provider, but rather, offers a reduced-fat version of homestyle meals.

A portion of The Hope Kitchen proceeds will be donated to Steve Baker Colorectal Cancer Alliance (SBCCA), a local non-profit organization committed to winning the fight against colorectal cancer.

Education is a big part of Hope Kitchen – they partner with several health providers, schools and other institutions to show that favorite foods can be easily tweaked to be healthier and still be delicious. No need to give up your favorite down home favorites such as BBQ, chicken tenders, greens and cornbread. The Hope Kitchen also provides catering services. We love a cart with heart!

[The Hope Kitchen moved to North Portland April 2013]

Sample Menu: All meat based menu items made with fish, chicken or turkey. No meat products added to any vegetable options.

  • Tamale Pie – saucy tomato based blend of  spiced ground turkey, baked on a cornmeal crust, topped with melted cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. With greens and potato salad – $7.50. a la carte – $6.00
  • Pan Seared Tilapia. With greens and potato salad – $8.50
  • Sweet and Spicy Chicken Tenders – 4 pieces. With greens and potato salad – $8.00
  • Vegetarian Quinoa Salad – with greens and mushrooms – $5.00
  • BBQ Chicken Sandwich – $5.00
  • Side of vegetarian slow cooked greens, potato salad, or braised cabbage – $2.50
  • Weekly Dessert Special – prices vary – Sweet potato pie, pound cake, peach cobbler

Phone: (971) 222-4446

A Cajun Life

cajun food cart portland

A Cajun Life

Location: SE 43rd and Belmont – Good Food Here
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, lunch and dinner

The Story:

[A Cajun Life Food Cart moved to SE Portland’s Good Food Here in November 2014]

I grew up in deep SE Portland. We actually lived in unincorporated east Multnomah county, a mysterious rural land between Portland and Gresham. I raised pigs that usually went to “pig camp” while I was at summer camp. Food options in the area consisted of jojo’s at the local market or Subway or Dairy Queen. What I would give to have have been able to eat at A Cajun Life while a kid. It would have been childhood favorite.

A Cajun Life is the work of Chris Fontenot and his wife Hillary. Chris, a Louisiana native who ended up moving around the nation a bit before landing in Damascus, discovered the one thing he truly missed about home was the food. A common theme heard when talking with transplants to our fine town. Luckily for us, they chased this dream down and opened the cart named Roux down off HWY 212 and SE 202nd right in the heart of Damascus. It wasn’t easy. Damascus is a new city with little or no regulations regarding mobile vendors, so Clackamas County became the final arbiter. They too are new to mobile vending, so in the end, everyone has been on a learning curve trying to support this small business, get them open and keep them open.

Cajun food cart portland

Bayou Boogie and Crawfish étouffée

A Cajun Life’s menu features all the dishes I have fell in love with during my numerous trips to New Orleans. While everything on the menu looked simply amazing, I asked Chris for his specialty and he put together a combo of his Bayou Boogie and crawfish étouffée. Normally, this quantity of food would give me pause, but after that first bite of hot sausage and rice with a bit of chicken, I couldn’t put the fork down. The hot of the sausage was so different than what I’ve had, I couldn’t get enough. I quickly realized I had picked out most of the sausage and left everything else there. I felt like a kid separating items on the plate. The difference here was that the rest of the dish was amazing even though I had already ate the sausage. The crawfish étouffée, crawfish tails smothered in sauce, was equally flavorful and a treat. I asked Chris about a crawfish boil and he stated it may end up on the menu in the future. Mmmm, crawfish!

A Cajun Life, located in Damascus, may be a bit far for many of our readers here, but it is on the way to and from Mt. Hood and elsewhere east. Take a different route next time you’re out for a hike and drop on by. Their hours are weekend focused open on Friday at the cart and Saturday at the Gresham Farmers Market. If you’re a Timbers fan, you can check them out at Saturday, September 29th’s match against DC United. I’m happy to see mobile vendors succeeding beyond Portland but close enough to visit. Drop on by if you’re in the area and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Authentic Cajun Gumbo: chicken, sausage, Tasso served with potatoes in roux based sauce over rice – $8
  • Crawfish étouffée: crawfish tails smothered in sauce served over rice – $8
  • Bayou Boogie: chicken, sausage and Tasso gravy served over rice – $8
  • Crawfish Pistolettes: French bread stuffed with crawfish cheese sauce – $3.50 each

Facebook: A Cajun Life


Brett Burmeister


Location: Roaming, check their website for location
Hours: daily, 11:30-7 including weekends

The Story:

Pink flamingos flank the 60’s pink cart with the Jetson’s style logo. Retrolicious is the latest edition to Green Castle and is bringing back the classics. [Retrolicious left Green Castle in 10/2012 and is roaming and seeking a new location]

Hailing from Phoenix, Kimmy and her partner Roy, wanted to have some fun with both the cart and the menu. With fond memories of childhood favorites like mac ‘n cheese or meatloaf, the scratch made classics cart was born. Kimmy runs around the lot in a bright pink and yellow striped skirt I think I saw in a James Bond flick. The best way to engage customers – talk to them. The flamingos and the bright colored chairs and table add to the feel. A stunningly beautiful and well executed cart with a great brand.

Butter Basted Diner Burger

Butter Basted Diner Burger

Kimmy is going for big meals. The meals we enjoyed growing up before Mutual of Omaha’s Animal Kingdom. Those which put meat on our bones. The menu Saturday included Chicken and Waffles, Southern Style Mac & Cheese, Cart Cured BLT, a Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwich and the Butter Basted Diner Burger I enjoyed. Not having eaten many burgers in the last year in my attempt to experience other great foods, here was my chance to re-introduce my tastebuds to a classic. Served on Texas Toast, the hand crafted burger came with the usual fixin’s and pimento cheese. PIMENTO CHEESE. Wow, a big mouthful with that toast and the cheese was spot on for this type of burger. It has the appropriate amount of salt to the meat and having been butter basted, it had that sweet cream flavor I crave. While messy, it was worth it, sitting there devouring a juicy burger on a warm sunny spring day in Portland.

Retrolicious is hard to miss. One of the largest carts to grace our scene and painted bright pink. Kimmy and Dan are welcoming and want you to remember childhood through food. The menu is on a chalkboard, so it may change daily. Be prepared to experience what they have to offer. Drop on down to Green Castle and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Chicken & Waffles  – $5 or double for $7
  • Butter Basted Diner Burger – choice of cheese – $6
  • Southern Style Mac & Cheese – $5
  • Cart Cured BLT – a classic – $7
  • Hone Mustard Chicken Sandwich – $6

Hours: daily, 11:30-7 including weekends
Twitter: @EatRetrolicious
Facebook: EatRetrolicious